Natural Disasters

Mount Everest

Mt. Everest Not Safe from Climate Change

Climate change has many asking if the days of being able to summit the world’s highest peak are numbered.

by |June 12, 2015
save-the-children-hss

Preparing for Disasters, with the Focus on Children

A new initiative directed by the Earth Institute’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia will focus on protecting children from all types of disasters, starting with a pilot program in two communities in New York and Arkansas.

by |June 11, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.45.47 PM

From the Nile to the Sundarbans: the Undergraduate Capstones

This spring, students in the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development presented innovative solutions to sustainability issues as part of their Capstone Workshop. Their clients ranged from the United States Military Academy at West Point to the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

by |June 8, 2015
Hurricane Sandy

Was Hurricane Sandy the 100-Year Event?

Recent research suggests that Sandy may have been much more likely than previously believed.

by |May 20, 2015
Overhanging rooks and slumps reveal the much larger amount of erosion and land loss in the Indian Sundarban

Indian Sundarban

We arrived in Kolkata, and filmed by the Hooghly River. While it is no longer the main channel of the Ganges, it is still the Holy Ganges and we saw a funeral procession spreading ashes of a loved one while filming there. Then a 5 hour trip by car, ferry, rickshaw and boat to the Indian Sundarbans. The mangrove forest here is undergoing more erosion and land loss than in Bangladesh, where more river sediments can replenish it. The water here is more saline and the trees are small. A tiger was spotted by another boat, but was gone when we got there.

by |March 30, 2015
A small boat sailing up a scenic river in Mizoram.

Geology and Filming in Mizoram

In the small town of Kolasib, we stayed in Hotel Cloud 9. I had been told since I was a child that I was always off on Cloud 9 and now I was actually here. However, the electricity wasn’t for the first few hours, so showers were cold, but the dinner was hot.

by |March 27, 2015
Tiger pugmarks (footprints) in the tidal channel.  Our guide estimated 5-6 hours old.

Tiger Footprints and Dhaka

We finished our time in the Sundarbans with a silent boat ride in a tidal creek. The highlight was sets of fresh tiger footprints. We then had a long sail back to Dhaka with only one stop at a village. We then had a whirlwind tour of Old Dhaka with enough shopping to send the students back happy.

by |March 24, 2015
As the sun sets, we climb into the launch to leave the island and return to the Kokilmoni

Salt Kilns and Landscape Change in the Sundarbans

Leaving Hiron Point, we headed east through the Sundarbans to Kotka. At Kotka the students had walks through the forest seeing deer, wild boar and monkeys, while a smaller group also sampled near a set of 300 year old salt making kilns for OSL dating. We managed to finish while the tide inundated the site. We ended our day with a visit to an island that has recently emerged from the slain which the succession from bare sand to mangrove is visible.

by |March 21, 2015
Group photo at Hiron Point in the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest - a world heritage site.

Polder 32 and Hiron Point

We visited Polder 32, an embanked island in the delta that was flooded for almost two years when the embankment failed in several places during Cyclone Aila. In addition to the problem of increased subsidence due to the embankment, the area struggles for fresh water. Then we sailed to Hiron Point, a forest station in the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. We serviced equipment we have here while our armed guards watch for tigers.

by |March 20, 2015
Haiti 2010 earthquake

Remote Data Team Helped Put Haiti Back on the Map

Before the Haiti earthquake, few publicly available maps of the country existed. When the earthquake hit in 2010, some of the little data that existed was destroyed. Then a team at Tufts University went into action, and from afar, helped build updated maps of roads and earthquake damage to help humanitarian organizations deal with the crisis.

by |March 18, 2015